Friday, July 23, 2010

Community Policing on the Chopping Block

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, police nationwide are reexamining priorities as they grapple with layoffs, hiring freezes, furloughs and a wave of early retirements. Some departments facing such cuts feel they have little choice but to cancel community policing programs like code enforcement, neighborhood crime prevention programs and park patrols.

A number of departments have been forced to close specialized units that were devoted to community outreach, neighborhood empowerment and foot patrols. Departments that keep such units often do so with skeleton crews while working to fill vacancies department-wide.

Community oriented policing is an outgrowth of a popular philosophy in law enforcement known as the Broken Windows theory. Robert Friedmann, a professor of criminal justice at Georgia State University told the Journal Constitution that the thinking behind James Q. Wilson’s Broken Windows theory is that ignoring eyesores like graffiti and abandoned cars will drive good people out of their communities and invite criminals in.

Former New York City Transit Police Chief William Bratton introduced the Broken Window theory to Mayor Rudy Giuliani in the early 1990's. Bratton became the city’s police commissioner and ushered in an unprecedented era of declining crime rates which continues today.

The recession has forced local governments to reexamine which services are a necessity and which are a luxury. When times get tough, proactive policing takes a back seat, often to the detriment of struggling neighborhoods and the law abiding people who live in those neighborhoods.

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment